What is a designer, if not a cultural commentator – offering up dynamic solutions for hard times ahead. Panorama is a highly scenographic retrospective of Konstantin Grcic’s entire oeuvre – opening at Vitra Design Museum tomorrow evening. Four thematic scenarios capture the seminal German designer’s perspective on private and public space but also provides rare insight into different working methods. Such an exhibition doesn’t shy away from posing existential questions.
After several years of planning – multiple conversations between Grcic and Vitra Design Museum director and curator Mateo Kries about social relevance, future conflicts, creative struggles and design’s crucial role – Panorama came to fruition. Emulating the designer’s engagement with current visual culture, the retrospective juxtaposes the minute details of daily life with the ‘bigger picture’ – intertwining a deeply personal narrative with scientific research.
While a living space looks at 21st-century domestic situations, video projections recompose Grcic’s Munich-based studio next to model-making displays. Featuring a slew of drawings and prototypes, this simulated workspace gives rare insight into different phases of the designer’s process. Further on, iconic chairs are strategically positioned in a urban setting. A tall chain-link fence protects visitors from the dystopian misery depicted on a wrap-around backdrop. Last but not least, an object gallery turns away from dramatic stagings to reveal Grcic’s full repertoire.
Throughout Panorama’s run – this spring and summer – Vitra Design Museum will host a series of talks by major names like Hans Ulrich Obrist, Richard Sennett and Philipe Rahm. A 320-page catalogue – with additional essays by Peter Sloterdijk, Paola Antonelli and Marco Carpo – covers a similar retrospective of Grcic’s work – spanning two decades of work.
Panorama is on view from 22 March to 14 September.
Vitra Design Museum – Charles-Eames-Straße 2, Wiel am Rhein
Images Courtesy of Konstantin Grcic Industrial Design